In case you’ve been unplugged for the last couple of days, Netflix is raising their fees. For those who want both streaming video and DVD rentals you will have to pay at least $16 a month, compared to $8 or $10 if you like Blu-ray disks now. The change will take place in September, and will cost $8 for each separate service. If you want both streaming and a single DVD a month it will cost $16 together. Blu-ray rental is going from $2 extra a month to $3 extra.
The Internet has erupted. A recent infographic we published followed the Twitter traffic for fans of both Netflix and Hulu Plus. I’m guessing that if they waited till today, there would be a lot more to include in the graphic because Twitter is flooded with the news. “Dear Netflix” is still trending on the social network.
I am a Netflix fan and have been a customer for years. My family has an $18/month subscription so we can get 2 DVDs or Blu-ray disks whenever we want plus all the streaming we do – and we do a lot of streaming. Lately, we’ve been watching the old Star Trek series instead of the crappy summer shows.
Why the Anger?
Here is the problem with Netflix upping their fees right now. Lately there has been a lot of news about more movies dropping off the service and it really made a lot of us unhappy when they agreed to delay availability of new releases for months after you could buy them or rent them elsewhere. This was a last straw for many, and I predict that a lot of people will quit. But most people will get angry, post on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and those of us who blog will create posts like this. Then in September we will turn off our DVD rentals and pay the $8 for streaming and get over it.
I wanted to try to organize a three-month strike where all customers unhappy about this would put their account on hold for that time, showing Netflix that we don’t like the service. The truth is doing that would likely kill the only decent movie streaming service out there.
I am an Amazon Prime customer. I have been for a few years. When they added streaming video I was happy, but their offerings are quite limited compared to Netflix. Hulu Plus has some good stuff, but while they have more recent TV shows from some networks, they have far fewer movies that are worth watching. Netflix is the only decent show in town for streaming quality movies and older TV shows. Our choices look like this:
- Hulu Plus and go rent movies
- Spend per movie from Apple or Amazon or mSpot
- Cable or Satellite Video On Demand
- Do without
Who Has the Control?
There may be other options, but of those five options Netflix is the best one, even at nearly 50% more per month. In the United States, they have the right to charge what they like. When a popular service that has become such a part of your life raises rates, frustrates you and makes you feel helpless. However, we have all the control! We can stop paying and they will either go out of business or change their pricing plan. We can voice our opinion or try to organize a boycott, but the only vote that matters with a corporation in a capitalistic economy is to cancel your service.
How will you exercise your control? I’m going streaming only and will likely rent movies from Amazon or Apple.